GRANT CITY, Mo. — The high school track and field season continued on Thursday with the Worth County Early Bird Meet in Grant City. For Northeast Nodaway, it was their first outdoor meet of the season after they opened the season last Saturday at the Hughes Fieldhouse.
The meet included 16 girls’ teams and 15 boys’ teams and Northeast Nodaway finished sixth in both boys and girls.
“I was very good for the kids and they performed well,” Northeast Nodaway coach Jared Freemyer said.
Each Bluejay team was led by its predictable leaders with senior Colton Wilmes and sophomore Paige West.
Wilmes — who committed earlier in the week to play football at Missouri Valley College — finished his week in style with a first-place showing in the discus by throwing 120-foot-8. He was second in the shot put with a 38-foot-9.5 throw and fifth in the javelin with a 107-foot-10 throw.
“He expects himself to do well and has been pushing himself,” Freemyer said. “I don’t really have to do anything with him, he does it himself and seeks out ways to make himself better.”
While Wilmes was the lone Bluejay champion, West was the leading team-point scorer on either team with 21 of the girls’ 38 team points.
“It was a pretty good day,” West said. “I’m pretty excited about it.”
West’s best finish came in the 300-meter hurdles where she was second with a 55.11, behind only Worth County’s Anna Gladstone. She was happy with her finish and says testing herself against an athlete like Gladstone will help push her the rest of the season.
“My pace has improved which is good,” West said. “I was right behind Anna Gladstone, which is a good accomplishment for me. … It is going to help me a lot. I am always with her in the same heat and she is always pushing me.”
Gladstone won two more individual titles in West’s events. In 100-meter hurdles, West finished third with a 17.96 and she was also third in the long jump with a 14-foot-3.5.
“She is another one that is very driven,” Freemyer said. “She does things on her own, separate from what we do, to improve herself. … She is probably our fastest girls that I can’t even use in the sprints because she is so good at everything else.”
West’s final event is her new event this year as she has taken up the high jump and finished sixth with a 4-foot-6. The sophomore was very excited each time she conquered a new height — surprising herself with the success she found.
“I really liked it,” West said. “I was surprised that I did as well as I did because I didn’t really know how to do it.”
The top finish on the track other than West came from foreign-exchange student Alba Vozmediaro, who dominated her heat in the 400-meter dash with a 1:11.53 and took third overall. Sophomore Anne Schieber was fourth in the 800-meter run while another foreign-exchange student Ilenia Ricci was sixth.
“I’m really encouraged with (Rucci, an Italian),” Freemyer said. “She came out in the cold — this is different for her — and she still improved her time.”
The Jays’ throwers finished off the team scoring with sophomore Madelynn Mattson taking fourth in the shot put with a 30-foot-6 and sophomore Blair Stoll taking fifth in the discus with a 87-foot-6.
Junior Nathan Schieber used a late kick to pass several runners and finish third in the 800-meter run with a 2:13.96. Freemyer says the junior can learn from not going to his kick earlier.
“He has a really good kick,” Freemyer said. “He even knows that he maybe should have done it a little bit sooner. His kick is great.”
Rory Bredlow had a fast start in the 1,600-meter run and was able to take fifth with a 5:38.2.
Mitchell Sherry was a standout in all the jumps for the Jays and the junior finished third in the high jump with a 5-foot-4, fifth in the triple jump with a 35-foot-10 and sixth in the long jump with a 17-foot-8.75.
Mound City won the boys' team title while Gladstone and Worth County won the girls' title.
The Bluejays will be back in action on Tuesday when they travel to the North Platte Invitational.
“I am very excited,” West said. “It has been a long time since Northeast Nodaway has had a good girls’ track and field program.”